There’s no doubt that the Harry Potter series is full of powerful witches and wizards skilled in many branches of magic, who proved themselves time and time again. But what about those who didn’t exactly have a knack for it?
Of course, not everyone can be an Albus Dumbledore or even a Lord Voldemort, but there exists an average level of magical ability and intelligence where most witches and wizards seem to fall. However, there are those who fell well beneath that median for a variety of reasons. Some students had their educations cut short and others, their lives, neither of which were their faults of course, but it was still an unfortunate reality that certainly held them back. However, it’s really the adult witches and wizards who proved that magic doesn’t exactly make the man or woman -- and that they’re just as flawed as the muggles.
Instead of thriving in the magical community (whether they were on the side of good or not), these individuals had certain character traits that got in their own ways, often leading to their downfalls, hurting other people, or just leaving them stuck. As far as the Worst Wizards In Harry Potter go, these are pretty much the bottom of the butterbeer barrel.
15 Peter Pettigrew
Despite being one of the Marauders, Peter Pettigrew never had the same level of talent as his friends. Although he managed to become an Animagus like James and Sirius, Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that “Peter needed all the help he could get.” Professor McGonagall also recounted her impression of Pettigrew in the same book, noting that he was “never quite in their league talent-wise” and that “he was always hopeless at dueling.”
Nevertheless, he did develop somewhat of a talent for the Dark Arts and performed a powerful blasting curse that killed twelve muggles. It was also Peter who killed Cedric Diggory and followed Voldemort’s instructions to create the potion that brought him back to life. Even still, whenever he was able to accomplish a difficult type of magic, he always seemed to have help. In reality, his real power lay in his ability to hide and deceive others, which didn’t require magic at all. Whether he was sucking up to the Marauders or Lord Voldemort, Peter Pettigrew was a selfish, weak-minded wizard who was more of a power groupie than anything else.
14 Cornelius Fudge
Sure Cornelius Fudge was the Minister for Magic (meaning he had to have had some level of magical skill) during the majority of the Harry Potter series, but he was always insecure about his position, since Dumbledore had been the Ministry’s first choice. Even though Dumbledore declined the position multiple times, Fudge constantly felt threatened by him, which is ironic considering that he was always asking Dumbledore for advice.
But like Peter Pettigrew, Fudge was more interested in power than his loyalty to the wizarding community as a whole. He actually awarded himself the Order of Merlin, First Class, which is supposed to be reserved “for acts of outstanding bravery or distinction.” In all likelihood, he only gave himself the distinction in order to seem on par with Dumbledore, who received it after defeating the dark wizard, Grindelwald.
Fudge also refused to acknowledge that Voldemort had returned even after Harry recounted his experience in the Little Hangleton graveyard during the Triwizard Tournament. His continuous refusal cost the lives of many wizards, witches, and muggles, making him a poor excuse for both a Minister for Magic and a wizard in general.
13 Rita Skeeter
Rita Skeeter, the obnoxious reporter for The Daily Prophet, is the perfect example of a witch who hurt others in order to build up her own self-image. Although she was an Animagus (an arduous process that requires a lot of skill), she used her ability to eavesdrop on private conversations, which is like the equivalent to wiretapping in the muggle world. She also used Veritaserum to get Bathilda Bagshot to reveal personal information about Albus Dumbledore for her book, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore.
She’s often seen dictating to a self-writing, Quick-Quotes Quill for interviews incorporated into her sensationalized style of journalism. Until Hermione threatens to report her as an unregistered Animagus, all of her stories are mostly fictionalized in order to sell papers and spark scandals. In short, she exploits others and her ability to use magic for personal gain—namely fame and fortune. It’s possible that she could have been a highly skilled witch if she hadn’t been so selfish and vain, doing anything for a story, no matter how immoral or illegal.
12 Seamus Finnigan
While Seamus Finnigan eventually came into his own as a wizard of moderate ability, during most of his career at Hogwarts, he was rather clumsy, not unlike Neville Longbottom. Seamus’ wand seemed to have a penchant for producing fire, even when the spell he was performing didn’t call for it. He was so well known for setting fire to his classwork that even Professor McGonagall commented on it. Along with Neville, she tasked him with blowing up a bridge on the grounds during the Battle of Hogwarts due to his “particular proclivity for pyrotechnics.”
Most of the magical ability he did end up demonstrating came directly from his membership in Dumbledore’s Army. At some point, he was able to produce a Patronus, which took the shape of a fox, but he never used it practically. Dueling and defensive spells were also covered during Dumbledore’s Army meetings, which did allow him to fight during the Battle of Hogwarts. However, if it hadn’t been for Harry’s shield charms, Seamus would have likely died at Lord Voldemort’s hands during the battle.
11 Rubeus Hagrid
Seeing as he was half-giant, Hagrid was born with a number of natural magical abilities. His giant blood made him immune to certain spells and also gave him superhuman strength. He also had a natural knack for communing and caring for magical creatures, although often at the expense of the safety of himself and others.
However, through no real fault of his own, Hagrid’s magical potential was halted while he was at Hogwarts. If it hadn’t been for pureblood supremacist, Tom Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort) framing Hagrid for first opening the Chamber of Secrets while they were at school, Hagrid probably would have also been a very skilled wizard. Instead, his wand was snapped and he was expelled, never finishing his magical education.
Although he wasn’t technically allowed to do magic, the fragments of his wand were contained in a pink umbrella. This allowed him to perform certain spells, though not always perfectly. For example, he tried to transfigure Harry’s cousin, Dudley, into a pig, but only managed to give him a tail. Despite his lack of skill and ability as a wizard, his courage and loyalty still count for something.
10 Tom the Innkeeper
Now there’s nothing inherently bad about Tom the Innkeeper, but he didn’t exactly pick a profession that warrants the use of much magic. Like anything else, magic is a skill that’s refined with practice, in addition to whatever natural ability already exists. If anything, Tom was mostly adept at household spells like Mrs. Weasley or Andromeda Tonks. Obviously, that kind of magic is important too, and Mrs. Weasley certainly demonstrated that she was capable of much more than that, but it’s not exactly on the same level as advanced transfiguration spells or forbidden dark magic.
We do see Tom perform wandless magic in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, creating a fire in the fireplace for Fudge and Harry. It’s also possible that he uses magic to cook and clean, since house elves are never seen at The Leaky Cauldron. For the most part, he seemed to have been created by J.K. Rowling as a stark contrast to Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort. Although they share the same first name, they couldn’t have been more different in their demeanor, abilities, and pursuit of power.
9 The Creevey Brothers
Both Colin Creevey, and his brother Dennis, were known to get on the nerves of the other Gryffindor students. Coming from a family with two muggle parents, they were amazed and excited by the world they now found themselves in. The Creeveys hero-worshipped Harry, and Colin was frequently seen trying to take Harry’s picture or get his autograph. As a result, they joined Dumbledore’s Army, despite being a lot younger than most of the other members.
While both brothers magical skills were somewhat erratic at the start of the Dumbledore’s Army meetings, Colin at least managed to do both the Impediment Jinx and Full Body-Bind Curse. Neither was described as being particularly good at disarming spells, however, which foreshadowed Colin’s eventual fate.
Despite their youth and inexperience, the Creeveys were enthusiastic to a fault. Even after they were pulled from Hogwarts due to their blood status, Colin snuck back after the members of Dumbledore’s Army were summoned by their coins. Considering how dedicated both Colin and Dennis were at such a young age, they probably could have gone on to be relatively strong wizards if it hadn’t been for the disruption of their magical education and Colin’s untimely death.
8 Cormac McLaggen
Cormac McLaggen was a typical alpha male, always trying to assert himself as the best thing since sliced bread. Even though he definitely proved his skill at Quidditch during Gryffindor’s tryouts, his nasty remarks about Ron and Ginny cost him the position of Keeper after Hermione Confunded him so that he’d miss the last save. When he actually got a chance to play on the team, he completely blundered it by spending more time telling people what to do than actually defending the goals.
Cormac was a prime example of how even wizards can overcompensate for fear of inadequacy. Seeing as he was described in the books as being large enough to cover all three Quidditch goals at once, he was likely somewhat self-conscious about his appearance. Since he also had a famous uncle who worked in the Ministry of Magic, he probably had a lot to live up to when it came to his family life. Nevertheless, he never displayed any sort of magical skill beyond Quidditch, and it’s even hinted in the films that he may have had to repeat a grade. Since he actually bragged about landing in the hospital for eating poisonous Doxy eggs, that doesn't seem too unbelievable, although it's never mentioned in the books.
7 Sybill Trelawney
Another witch or wizard who had to live up to a famous family member, Professor Trelawney didn’t always seem like she actually had much talent in the subject she taught. There were a few times when she seemed to predict minor occurrences in the lives of her Divination students, but as is the case with popular Astrology, it may have just been coincidence.
It’s not until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that she’s revealed as the Seer to prophesize Harry as The Chosen One who has the power to bring down Voldemort. She had also made a real prophecy to Harry about Peter Pettigrew setting out to find Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Despite her unpredictable talent for Divination, she didn’t seem to possess much else in the way of useful magical abilities. During the battle of Hogwarts, she dropped crystal balls on Death Eaters instead of dueling them, which shows courage, but more so her underlying eccentricity as a glorified fortune teller.
After Voldemort took over the Ministry and appointed his own Minister for Magic (under the Imperius Curse), bounty hunters called Snatchers were employed to catch muggle borns and half-bloods. One such awful wizard was a former Slytherin named Scabior, who leads a gang of Snatchers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (although Fenrir Greyback is the leader in the books). Even though he captures and kills “blood traitors” for personal gain, the only reason he’s able to snatch Harry, Ron, and Hermione is because they were ridiculously outnumbered.
Scabior does seem to have some ability for stunning, disarming spells, and likely the Unforgivable Curses, but to what extent is unknown. What we do know is that he’s too slow to disarm Bellatrix Lestrange after turning in Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and that he grossly underestimated Neville Longbottom (as did far too many of us reading along at home). Due to his arrogance and stupidity, he nearly ran into the protective enchantments during the Battle of Hogwarts, finally falling to his death when Neville and Seamus blew up the bridge.
5 Xenophelius Lovegood
Another fellow eccentric with questionable abilities, Xenophilius Lovegood was the editor for the tabloid magazine, The Quibbler. Concerned more with conspiracy theories, magical creatures of questionable existence, and stories crafted purely on speculation and rumors, Xenophilius wasn’t exactly a trusted source of wizarding news. Even his name literally means “attracted to the strange,” which explains a lot when it comes to Luna. Pair that with Harry’s description of him as looking “slightly cross-eyed, with shoulder-length white hair the texture of candyfloss,” and most people probably didn’t take him too seriously.
Although he was right about the existence of the Deathly Hallows, his gullible personality allows him to be misled on more than one occasion. When he’s given what he thinks is a Crumple-Horned Snorkack horn, it turns out to be from an Erumpent, which comes from an actual magical creature (as seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), but is highly explosive. Xenophilius is also never seen using his wand in either the books or films, despite having his house attacked by a bunch of Death Eaters. Judging by the contents of his home, it’s possible he lived somewhat like a muggle -- probably due to paranoia, or just to keep the Wrackspurts away.
4 Vincent Crabbe
One-half of Draco Malfoy’s brainless bodyguards, Vincent Crabbe was the definition of a big dumb oaf. If Harry’s cousin Dudley had been a wizard attending Hogwarts, they’d probably have been best friends. All Crabbe does is eat his weight in food and talk smack about students in the other Hogwarts houses along with Goyle and Malfoy. He actually has to repeat his fifth year, evidenced by the fact that both Professor Snape and McGonagall mention in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Crabbe failed his O.W.L. exams and has to retake them.
Coming from a pure-blood family (although not one of the “Sacred 28”) and having a father who is a Death Eater, Crabbe is essentially a privileged millennial. He, like many of the Slytherins, thinks he can get by on his family’s heritage and reputation alone, without putting in any actual effort to become a skilled wizard. While he does use Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement, he has no real concept of the power behind it or the other forms of dark magic taught in that year by the Carrows. Instead of focusing it at Harry, Ron, and Hermione, it blazes out of control, swallowing him up and nearly killing his friends.
3 Gregory Goyle
Like Crabbe, Goyle was the other half of Malfoy’s bodyguards. He was described as being gorilla-like and possibly even dumber than Crabbe (although in the films, their appearances seem to be reversed). At the end of their first year, J.K. Rowling writes that Harry, Ron, and Hermione “hoped that Goyle, who was almost as stupid as he was mean, might be thrown out, but he passed, too." Malfoy also comments that he didn’t know Goyle could read when Harry’s disguised as him after drinking Polyjuice Potion in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Goyle also has a Death Eater father and pure-blood supremacist mentality. Like Crabbe, he thrives during the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when The Carrows allow for the Unforgivable Curses to be used on misbehaving students as punishment. Seeing as he spends most of his time bullying other students with Malfoy and Crabbe, it’s no surprise that he too has to repeat his fifth year after failing his O.W.L. exams. Not exactly the stuff Aurors are made of, is he?
2 Mundungus Fletcher
A poor excuse for a wizard if ever there was one, Mundungus Fletcher’s reputation as a thief and shady dealer overshadowed any sort of magical ability he possessed. Basically, he was only kept around for his connections to the dark wizarding underworld, likely hanging around Knockturn Alley more often than not. Probably because he rescued him from a deal gone bad, Mundungus was in Dumbledore's debt and was loyal enough to warrant membership in the Order of the Phoenix despite Mundungus and the other members’ reluctance at his inclusion.
He proved useful to Dumbledore as a plant for the Battle of the Seven Potters idea, which Severus Snape actually gave him under the Confundus Charm. However, once it came down to it, Mundungus disapparated at the first sign of trouble, leading to the death of Mad-Eye Moody. His cowardice and pursuit of gold earned him many enemies, even going so far as to steal valuables from 12 Grimmauld Place that belonged to Harry after Sirius left them to him in his will.
1 Gilderoy Lockhart
Gilderoy Lockhart fooled us all with his dashing good looks and overwhelming charm, portrayed expertly by the unmatched talent of Sir Kenneth Branagh. Acting as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart proves inept at almost every form of magic he attempts.
When he releases a cageful of Cornish Pixies, he’s unable to subdue them, and they proceed to wreak havoc on his class until Hermione stuns them with the Freezing Spell. Then, he tries to mend Harry’s broken arm after he falls off his broom during a Quidditch match only to accidentally remove all the bones. He’s also terrible at dueling, evidenced by his failed attempt at sponsoring a Dueling Club with Severus Snape.
In fact, the only thing he proves to be good at is Memory Charms, which he reveals is the way he was taking credit for other wizards’ heroic deeds. But, in the end, even his attempt at a Memory Charm backfires when he tries to use Ron’s broken wand to perform one. As such, his constant deceit for the sake of his vanity ultimately leads to the loss of his mind.
Who do you think was the worst wizard in the world of Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments.